Half the country on flu epidemic alert as Christmas approaches: what precautions should be taken?

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French regions facing a rise in flu before Christmas

Vigorous spread of the flu virus

This December 20, the national public health organization issued a warning relating to the intensification of the spread of the influenza virus, particularly in the east of the country. Indeed, we are observing a marked increase in viral activity within five regions.

Rapid spread: many territories on alert

The rapid progress of the epidemic is revealed in the latest weekly public health report. The situation evolved rapidly, going from a single region on alert (Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur) a week earlier to an extension now affecting half of French territory. The Occitanie, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, Bourgogne-Franche-Comté and Grand Est regions are now affected by the epidemic stage, while Nouvelle-Aquitaine is in the pre-epidemic phase. Three regions remain, for the moment, away from this wave.

Viral activity and hospitalizations on the rise

Epidemiological monitoring indicators, including data from hospitals, general practitioners, SOS Médecins associations, and the Sentinelles network, make it possible to measure the extent of the spread of the virus. A significant increase in indicators was noted, affecting all age groups and more pronounced among young people under 15 years old.

  • Medical consultations for flu symptoms: 773.6 per 10,000 inhabitants, up compared to the previous week.
  • Emergency admissions for influenza: 76 per 10,000 inhabitants, increasing.
  • Hospitalizations following visits to the emergency room: 1,471 per 10,000, also on the rise.

Health consequences: slightly increasing mortality

Although influenza is only involved in a small proportion of deaths (0.4%), a slight increase in mortality attributable to the virus is observed. Direct or indirect deaths linked to influenza amounted to 24 for the period considered.

Health recommendations and prevention

Faced with this epidemic alert, health professionals emphasize the importance of prevention, particularly through vaccination, specifically for populations at risk such as the elderly or immunocompromised.

Preventive measures for a healthy Christmas

During this period of festivities, it is appropriate to adopt responsible behaviors to limit the transmission of the flu:

  • Respect barrier gestures and hand hygiene.
  • Wear a mask in the presence of vulnerable people or in enclosed and crowded spaces.
  • Avoid close contact if you have flu symptoms.
  • Consult a healthcare professional to get vaccinated, particularly for those in at-risk groups.

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